Kyla Ross
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Kyla Ross retires from international gymnastics

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Kyla Ross, the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic champion team, has retired from elite gymnastics.

Ross reportedly mulled the decision for months and came to a conclusion after a January national team camp.

“Pretty much the past year has been a little bit difficult,” Ross said, according to the Orange County (Calif.) Register. “I know I’ve been thinking about it and just trying to understand and decide what I was going to do, so I thought coming into the new year I’d see how my feelings were and if I still had the drive and passion to pursue the Olympics. I went to the first training camp of the year and I just didn’t feel like my mind was in the right spot and I know that I didn’t want to go for the Olympics and put myself through all of it if my heart just wasn’t really there.”

Ross, then 15, made the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in her first year as a senior gymnast. She was the youngest U.S. Olympic gymnast since 1996.

She was the only U.S. woman to make all of the 2012 Olympic, 2013 Worlds and 2014 Worlds teams. She won silver and bronze in the all-around at the 2013 and 2014 Worlds behind gold medalist Simone Biles.

In 2015, Ross placed 10th in the all-around at the P&G Championships and removed herself from consideration for the six-woman World Championships team.

No U.S. woman has made back-to-back Olympic gymnastics teams since 2000.

“I’ve been competing for a really long time,” Ross said, according to the newspaper. “I know in 2012 I was really new and I was excited to be a senior and I think that’s why I had a lot of success, but recently it’s just been a little bit more difficult and I just feel like my drive and motivation is not the same as it was before.”

Ross, who is expected to compete collegiately for UCLA, is the second member of the five-woman 2012 U.S. Olympic champion team to retire from elite gymnastics, joining Jordyn Wieber.

Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas and floor exercise gold medalist Aly Raisman returned to competition last year and made the World Championships team.

McKayla Maroney, the Olympic vault silver medalist, has not competed since 2013.

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Dear friends, Today I am officially announcing my retirement from elite gymnastics. This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have made in my life but I feel that my time as an elite gymnast has come to an end. I truly love the sport of gymnastics and I am so fortunate to have been able to accomplish my dreams with the help of my coaches, family, friends, and of course my amazing fans. Having the opportunity to represent the U.S. through gymnastics has been a great honor and experience I will cherish. I would like to thank everyone for all the amazing support I have received over my entire elite career. As I make this transition to collegiate gymnastics and this next chapter in my life, I hope to still inspire people to reach for their dreams! Sincerely, Kyla Ross

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USOPC seeks to revoke USA Badminton’s status

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U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland filed a complaint to revoke USA Badminton’s status as the national governing body for the sport, a year after a USOPC audit found the organization lacked athlete safety requirements.

USA Badminton “failed to meet its responsibilities as an NGB and consistently failed to meet its obligations to its members and to U.S. athletes,” according to the USOPC. “Further, USAB has failed to conduct itself in a manner that demonstrates it can fulfill those responsibilities.”

Asked for reaction, USA Badminton interim CEO Linda French said, “I’m very disappointed in the USOPC and the conduct of their staff.”

USA Badminton recently had mass resignations among its board and top officials amid governance issues and the USOPC threatening decertification. A 2018 USOPC audit found four “high risk” areas in USA Badminton’s athlete safety and SafeSport compliance that, by March, had not been fully resolved.

“We have attempted to work with USAB’s leadership over the course of the last year to address our concerns, however those efforts have not yielded the results necessary to give me confidence in USAB’s ability to continue to serve its athletes as an NGB,” Hirshland wrote. “We remain committed to working with USAB’s leadership to address our concerns but have so far not found a willing partner.”

The next step is for Hirshland to appoint an independent panel to hear the complaint. There is no specific timeline for a resolution, though Hirshland said it will take a minimum of several weeks.

If USA Badminton’s status is revoked, the USOPC would assume control on an interim basis.

Last November, the USOPC filed the same complaint against USA Gymnastics, seeking to revoke its status after the Larry Nassar sexual-abuse crimes came to light followed by several leadership changes.

USA Gymnastics since filed for bankruptcy and named former college gymnast and NBA executive Li Li Leung its new CEO in February. It remains the sport’s NGB with eight months until the Tokyo Olympics.

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Sun Yang should get lengthy ban if he loses doping hearing, WADA says

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency wants China’s star swimmer Sun Yang banned for up to eight years for alleged doping rules violations.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Tuesday ahead of a rare appeal hearing in open court on Friday that WADA requests a ban of two to eight years. Sun served a three-month ban in 2014 for a positive test.

If WADA wins, the three-time Olympic freestyle champion will miss the Tokyo Games.

WADA has challenged world swimming body FINA’s ruling to merely warn Sun after a disputed attempt by sample collectors to take blood and urine from him at his home in China in September 2018. The late-night confrontation lasted from 11 p.m. to beyond 3:30 a.m.

The day-long hearing will examine why a secure box storing a glass vial of blood came to be destroyed by Sun’s entourage, who questioned the sample team’s authority. A FINA tribunal panel agreed the officials lacked proper credentials to make the sample collection valid.

WADA believes Sun broke anti-doping rules by refusing to submit to a sample collection.

All sides agreed to Sun’s request to hold a first CAS appeal in public for 20 years.

A verdict is unlikely until early next year.

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